Showing posts from 2018

Album reviews - Joe Bonamassa Redemption. Jeff Beck Live at the Hollywood Bowl

It's been an age since I've done an album review on here - largely as I've not been buying music much recently.  Anyway.... Joe Bonamassa Redemption Now Joe Bonamassa with this album really nails it.  He has written 12 excellent songs.  His band has to be quiet simply one of the best on the planet too.  He is the king of blues rock currently.  From the start of Evil Mama with the hooky riff, stabby horn fills and great vocals you know this is going to be great.  I do simply believe it is his best yet. The solos of course are his tour de force.   The headliner stand outs for me are Redemption (the title track) and The Ghost of Macon Jones. If you like Bluesy Rock or Rocky Blues or just great rock music go listen.  It really is top album. Jeff Back Live at the Hollywood Bowl What more can you say about Jeff Beck?  One of the, if not the, most original and inventive rock guitarists of the moment.  Where many many others might still bang out album after album the pa

Some new kit

It was my birthday earlier in the month.  So with the various vouchers and cash I got I've acquired a couple of bits of new kit. 1. Harmoniser pedal. I thought I'd try one out and didn't want to spend a lot on something that has limited use to be honest.  I watched some reviews of the cheaper mini pedals that have been coming on the market recently.  Influenced by Mooer who came up with the format.  The idea is just genius.  They figure most people who are serious have a pedal board already and that has a 9v power supply on it.  Therefore why to all pedals continue to have to have space for the 9v battery and that dictates a lot about how small a pedal can be - a format long championed by market leaders like Boss. So take that out, minituraise as much as possible and suddenly pedals can be really small actually.  Small enough that you could have 3 or 4 easily on a little board with a power supply and be able to put it in the pocket of your gig bag.  Genius - Mooer act

Gibson Les Paul Switchmaster Custom 1957

Many many years ago when I first started playing the guitar etc. John Miles was an artist I liked.  Remember him?  Most famous was his breakthrough hit of Music - which is a marvellous tune, with a bit of 7/4 timing thrown in with piano, orchestra and rock guitar solo. Anyway John Miles had a black Les Paul Custom - hmmm.... another influence on my desire for one of these in later years maybe.  But his was special.  Many customs from the late 50s were built with three pickups - it was the default set up and continued into the SG custom that followed in the 60s - it is extremely rare to see a two pickup SG custom although two pick Les Paul Customs became the norm after the 1970 reintroduction.   John's had three pickups but rather than the usual three way switch and two vol and tones his had a four way slider switch and six controls. Here is a video of him playing it in 1976 in one of his hits Slow Down.  Esp about 1:30 in you'll see the guitar during a Peter Frampton / Joe

Gibson Les Paul Standard 2019 - what's the furore?

Here is a picture of the new Gibson Les Paul Standard 2019 model. In the snazzy looking Blueberry Burst.  Not possibly the colour I'd choose if I was buying this guitar but interesting and actually quiet innovative for a production guitar finish - you've got a standard burst idea - i.e. fade from light to dark from the centre out to the edges and a colour transition from the neck joint to the base of the instrument.  Now - if you search on the Internet for Gibson Les Paul Standard 2019 - you'll find a whole host of articles and videos with people in melt down.  I've not seen this level of hate for Gibson Les Paul since the addition of robot tuners and the height adjustable brass nut. I thought I write and give my take on this... firstly by talking history. Exhibit one the original Les Paul model as introduced in 1952. (from Let us roll on to 1957. (This is actually Snowy White's guitar that he has used throughout his career with Pin

Space saving workbench

I got this idea from Chris at Highline guitars from a video he put up recently on his YouTube channel. If you haven't much space available and certainly not enough for a permanent workbench here's a way to get one you can store away. Underneath is a Black & Decker Workmate that I've had for years and which already folds away.  The top is a large offcut sheet of chipboard that was in my garage - a left over for a kitchen installation years ago. Underneath you see again a chunk of chipboard that was in my pile of "it may come in handy one day" offcuts.   You'll see I notched it at the ends so sit snugly on the workmate.  Once this clamped in the top is held really tight and it gives you a much bigger smooth flat surface to work on.  I heavily countersunk the 2.5" chipboard screws so that they won't scratch anything I put on there. The final little touch again from Chris at Highline was the portable carpenter's vice.  I honestly h

HSS strat set up and review

Finally I had the guitar finished but not set up. I had a quick playing test and most of the fret issues had gone - my initial test had shown that on the E and B above fret 14 it was hit and miss whether you got the right note and that was all gone.  There was some buzzing but all notes sounded.  However bending the top E choked out - a common Strat complaint but one I wasn't expecting.  When I bought the neck off eBay it was specified as having a 9.5" radius.  I thought I maybe needed another go at levelling the frets. Anyway I put it aside for 24 hours to let it all settle at tension anyway. Next day I checked the relief which without any adjustment had gone from being dead flat without tension to being a little over Fender factory spec for a 9.5 and closer to a 7.25.  I decided to leave that as that was close enough for now - I was expecting to return to that but read on for the mystery surprise. The nut slots were all high - not uniformly some much higher tha

HSS Strat Completed

The build is completed. When I last updated you on here the scratchplate was cut out in terms of the shape.  So the next job was to cut out the pickup holes, control mounting holes and the screw holes. So... I drilled into the corner of the pickup holes and then with a coping saw cut those out.  Found various sized appropriate drills for the holes.  Cutting out the pickup holes was a bit tricky but ok in the end with a bit of judicious help from appropriate files.  One of the trickiest bits was to get the switch hole.  For a typical Strat 5 way switch it is a long thin line.  Digging in my tool chest which I so luckily inherited from my Dad in 1984.  It has tools that date back to when he started as an apprentice shipwright in the dockyard in 1942.  I always wonder what Dad is thinking looking down on my hamfisted efforts (ab)using his tools in the process.  Anyway buried in there were some round file blades to be fitted into a saw. They looked about the right width.  I found a fre

HSS Project progress

Enjoying the holiday at the moment.  The meniere's disease has almost totally behaved itself the last two days so I got some more progress made on the HSS build. First - I said that the standard scratchplate I bought didn't fit so I'm making one from scratch using the standard one as a bit of a template.  I thought therefore about some from of jig to help when cutting it out.  I'm a Youtube addict for certain guitar channels, one being Crimson Guitars and the other Susan Gardener's.   Both of these have shown use of the Crimson Guitars Jewellers / Inlay Cutting Bench Jig .  Now I could just have bought one, but it's £20 for essentially a couple of bits of wood.  No doubt expertly made and finished by Ben and the team at Crimson but I rifled through some old bits of wood in the shed and in an hour or so had made one of my own. Yes more rough and ready than the Crimson one but it does the job.  And so to that job... I spent a good hour and a half figurin

New project.. and some history

The History Back in the mid 70s a young lad convinced his mum to order a Columbus Strat copy from one of the catalogues that she ran.  Do you remember them?  My Mum used to be an agent for Empire Stores and another.  I'm pretty sure the guitar came from Empire.  It was pictured laying close to a Saxon black Les Paul custom copy which at, I think, £89 was out of my price range.  The Columbus Strat though was £75 and I sacrificed most of my weekly pocket money for a year to pay for it. That was my first electric guitar.  My second guitar of all.  Anyway - wind on a couple of years or so - 1978/79.  I wanted a more raunchy sound from the bridge pickup so I headed to London with my big brother one day.  In a shop (I think Rose Morris) I saw an Ibanez Super 70 humbucker in a cabinet and I could afford it - can't remember the price.  I told the assistant what I was going to do.   He was indignant I was thinking of putting a humbucker in a strat at all esp in the bridge position. 

Two new tracks

Seriously!  Two tracks!!! Yes... First some rocky type stuff. Then some folk rock featuring my octave mandolin

This journey

I started blogging in early 2006. This blog since 2008 and my other blog over at WordPress since 2013. Whatever has happened my recovery has been the constant common theme. Today I'm 5000 days sober thank you for walking with me.


Proof I think of my point about Glen Hughes and his incredible voice.  This was the encore from the show last week

Where you been? Gig Review of Black Country Communion Hammersmith 4 Jan 2018

Or more to the point where have I been.... Unwell - see my other blog for some details but I have a condition that has become really impactful recently.  To the point where I suspect for too long I'll be no longer working in any capacity.  In effect I can't really travel, am not driving etc. So unless there is a job I can do within walking distance of home who don't mind someone who every few hours has to lie on the floor until the world stops spinning and then is frankly useless for as long as that lasts - 5 min to several hours and afterwards can barely stand or walk for a few hours more.  Reasonable adjustment is an interesting conversation with an employer who thinks it means brail keyboards and wheelchair accessibility. Anyways....  Musically - nothing has been happening really as also my hearing is nearly gone in my left ear as a result and I have constant roaring tinnitus couple with painful feelings in my ear with loud noises.   Ear plugs help but don't cure